You all know my great passion for reading. My favorite is obviously those of a Christian nature or historical. I recently picked up a copy of the Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom when I saw a copy on sale at a book store. I had read the book years before and remembered liking it, so decided to re read it. As I've been re reading it I realize it takes my two favorite subjects to read about and throws them in one book. A book with encouragement for believers, strongly routed in faith in Jesus, while telling a story with historical significance.
If you have yet to read this book, pick it up. Let me give you a little background. Corrie and the rest of the Ten Boom family lived in Holland during the Holocaust. As the Jews began to be persecuted they sought out help from their peers. The Ten Boom family by helping Jews as they came seeking help one day woke up and realized their house was a base for the underground escape of the persecuted in Holland and Corrie, the leader. This book is written by Corrie telling the stories as the Holocaust begins, as she and her family end up in prison, and the goodness of God through it all.
The Ten Booms had incredible faith. I would compare it to the likes of the Patriarchs as you read the stories of their undying devotion to the Lord even through the worst persecution. For example, Mr. Ten Boom, Corrie's father, was old and unstable by the time he was taken into prison, the officer in charge of sending people to prison looked down at him and said, you are old, you don't want to die in prison, i'll send you back home to your own bed, if you just assure me you will not harbor any more fugitives or cause any problems. Mr. Ten boom replies "as long as anyone has a need comes and knocks on my door, I will help them." He was sent to prison and later died there. Mr. Ten Boom would not even tell a lie to save his life, yet we tell lies for sheer convenience.
I could tell hundreds of stories similar displaying the character of each member of the Ten Boom family and I have been greatly encouraged by them all, but the simple fact is I want you to see the faith, trust, and dependence that this family has on their God.
Now I will get to what I actually want to talk about. I was reading along in the book when one particular thing Corrie said, just hit me in the gut.
Corrie's sister in law had delivered her a package with several things in it and hidden inside were four individual little booklets of the gospels. Corrie split among her cell mates the different things her sister sent and then offered the gospels. None of the prisoners would take it. They told her anyone in the prison caught with Christian literature especially the Bible was given kalte kost! Kalte Kost was a punishment that consisted of eating nothing but a piece of bread while in prison. In response Corrie wrote this
"Even Kalte Kost would be a small price to pay, I thought, as I stretched out my aching body on the foul straw, for the precious books I held between my hands"
Corrie Ten Boom, yearned for the Word of God, she risked health and later life, to have the Word of God to read.
Corrie knew the necessity of the Word. She lived in a sort of hell on earth in a dark prison cell where she wasn't allowed to talk, move, eat, sleep, without consent of a guard. A place where there were no windows and she saw no sky, everything around her did not seem to be formed by an imaginative beautiful Creator, but rather a dark evil.
I live everyday enjoying the blessings of a good God and yet do I prize His words so highly? Did I give a value that is worth life on the book that God has written for me? How much is it worth to me? I just paid $80 for a bible and I'm not going to lie I sort of cringed at the thought of spending $80 on a Bible. Is the Word of God not worth more than money?
How much worth do I put on the book that God gave to me as assistance, truth, help, encouragement, conviction, He gave it to me so that I can have His life on this earth. What is it worth?
A few chapters later as the war is getting worse and worse, as the Holocaust is becoming more brutal and spreading not just to Jews, but to other ethnicity alike. Corrie and her sister are moved to another prison. They have to strip naked and walk in front of Nazi guards showing that they have no possessions and then they are to slide into a prison gown at the end. Corrie and her sister Betsie see no possible way to take the now small little Bible they had acquired after giving away the gospels with those that had found the Love of Jesus in prison with them. They were in a horrible situation again. Give up the Word or keep it and risk their lives. As they found out they had to give up their clothes and their Word Corrie says this
"Betsie needed her sweater! But most of all, we needed our Bible! How could we survive without it? But how can we get it past so many watchful eyes... Dear God, I prayed, You have given us this precious book, You have kept it hidden through checkpoints and inspections, You have used it in so many lives..."
Corrie was cut off by the thrusting of guards. I'll shorten the story and tell you that God provided a miracle. They found a way to get the Bible on the other side of the naked checkpoint and then shove it inside her thin prison gown before being caught. The Bible bulged out of her prison gown and there was still great risk that any officer could tell that was not her body form and corrie says
"And all the while I had this incredible feeling, the feeling that this was not my business, but God's, and all I had to do was walk straight ahead"
Later on many became converted because of the reading of the Word that Corrie and Betsie did every night in prison. Corrie risked her life to have what was a necessity in her life. The Word of God.
I can't put into words the value of the Word. The Word has promises for us, it has truth, it gives you the facts of the gospel, why you and I have the chance to go to heaven. It tells of Jesus, the way the truth and life, the only way to heaven. The Word will boost your faith and carry you on when the world is crashing down.
As Corrie read the word to those around her in the prison they grew a faith that knew whatever the Word said was truth. They found peace and hope.
"The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the Word of God. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... Nay in all these things we were more than conquerors through Him that loved us. I would look about us as Betsie read watching the light leap from face to face. More than conquerors, it was not a wish. It was a fact. We knew it, we experienced it minute by minute- poor, hated, hungry. We were more than conquerors. Not we shall be, we are"
The Word of God is truth. It's the guidebook, it's faith, it's hope, it's love, it's the gospel, it's God, it's encouragement. The Word of God was invaluable to Corrie. It was either death by it or death without it.
How much worth do you put in the word? It is a monetary figure, is it convenience, it is life or death?
I'll say one thing I know, it'll be evident by the amount of time you spend in it. I doubt many would die for a book they pick up once a week. But for a book that gives you hope, for a book that encourages you on, a book that helps to change you into the image of Christ, a book that connects you with the beautiful creator, for that, well i'd bet most would be willing to give up almost anything for that, wouldn't they?
Some thoughts today,
As always be blessed,